I love these fall afternoons when the air is turning crisper, and through the open window, a gentle breeze flutters the hair about my face. Through the open door to the rest of the house I can hear the bustle of the household getting ready for tonight’s ball. However, here in the study all is quiet but for scratching of my pen on paper. And I do mean a pen and paper because I’ve snuck a few items back in time. The creamy ecru cotton fiber framed in black and then edged in gold, were chosen specifically for this event: this month’s All Hallow’s Eve masquerade.
I’ve taken over some of the planning because that week is release week for me. Private Research will finally be available for download (and on paper at the end of November). I’m particularly excited about this book (and it is actually not a novella despite the current subtitle in that picture!), because it revisits the London of my erotic Regency collection, On These Silken Sheets, except in the modern day.
For those of you who didn’t read On These Silken Sheets, all four novellas within take place in and around a private, erotic club called Harridan House. An important subplot of Private Research is What ever happened to Harridan House?
“Are you done yet, Miss Darby?” Lady B’s impatient voice sounds from the doorway where she uncharacteristically hovers as if uncertain to enter a room in her own home.
“Not quite.” I haven’t even begun on the actual invitations. I’m still working on the practice one. Designing just the right message to give the suggestion of naughtiness and illicit goings on without actually having them happen. After all, no matter the erotic content of the story, and no matter the potent ratafia and secret affairs in Lady B’s garden, The Ballroom must maintain a certain level of elegance and respectability.
“I don’t see why it has to be a secret,” Lady B fairly whines. “Nothing original in a masked ball. Every time I hold one I have a ballroom full of heroes in stark dominoes and ladies dressed as mythological deities or Marie Antoinette. I assure you, next week shall be the same. I, myself, will quite possibly come as Queen Elizabeth. I’ve been wanting to try a ruff for ages.”
I keep my mouth shut. I don’t mention to her that one of my worries is that the guest list, of necessity will include some regulars of Harridan House, and their interpretation of Aphrodite might be a bit…more diaphanous than our usual crowd.
“Just a few more minutes,” I beg.
Lady B turns away with a huff and one last retort. “For all this secrecy, I expect to be duly impressed with your costume.”
My costume? I blink. That’s one thing I haven’t considered at all.
What should I wear to the Masked Ball next week? And what will you be wearing, both in the Ballroom and out? And what costume do you think Monty will wear?